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The Singer Elizabeth Hunter 2022/7/22 11:38:32

“You have empathy. Profound empathy. And with that, you’ve developed your magic to the point where you can create emotional reactions in other people. Like the spell to guard this place. It’s not like your spell makes people physically unable to speak, they just have such a strong emotional reaction to even speaking the name of Sarih?fn that they would never consider revealing its location, even under torture.”

Orsala’s mouth turned down as she leaned forward. “So, what you’re saying is you think that—not only do you have these visions—but you can make others see them as well? Project them, not just with words, but actual images?”

“Because—” Orsala’s mouth dropped open. “I have no idea. Because I’ve never heard of it before. According to legends, this is something Leoc could do, but I’ve never heard of even the strongest Irina seers having the ability to manifest their visions to others the way you did that night.”

Jaron had done it to her, but then, he was an angel like Leoc.

“Is it really that far a stretch?”

“No.” She finally smiled. “It isn’t. It does make me curious about your mother, though.”

“I told Evren, my mom—”

“I know, I’m sorry.” Orsala waved her hand. “It’s habit. We all automatically assume our magic comes from our mothers. I really meant that I was curious about your family. Sari tells me that she and Damien are trying to investigate your father now.”

“Good luck with that.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Foster kid,” she said. “He doesn’t know much about his birth family. I mean, it’s not something we’ve really talked about. We talk about… nice stuff. Stuff that won’t stress him out.”

Orsala frowned. “But he is your father.”

“He’s a mess.” Ava shrugged. “He loves me, but he’s a mess. Jasper has had drug problems for as long as I’ve known him. He never stays in one place long. His house in LA is nothing more than a place to keep the stuff he collects while traveling. He’s… like me, kinda.”

Orsala’s eyes widened. “He hears voices?”

“No voices. Music.” Ava smiled. “He may be a mess, but he’s a brilliant one. I remember once finding him in my mom’s study at home when I was a child. He was sleeping and humming a song at the same time. Like, he was hearing it in a dream. A year later, I heard it on the radio. My mom was listening to it, smiling.”

“I thought he wasn’t in your life when you were a child.”

“He was. A little. I just thought he was my mom’s friend who would crash at our house occasionally. My stepfather didn’t mind, and my mom… Well, they’ve always had a complicated relationship.”

“It sounds like it. He must be a fascinating person.” Orsala’s eyes were unfocused. Thoughtful. “And he never talks about his family?”

“Not really. I know he knew his mother, but she died when he was young. No idea who his dad is. That side of my family tree is a total mystery to me.”

Orsala murmured, “So that’s where it must be.”

“The Irin blood. I’ve never heard of it before—and how you’re as powerful as you are is a mystery, but it must have come from somewhere.”

Ava decided she liked the idea of not knowing where her Irin blood came from. The mystery was frustrating, but a knot in her gut told her that some secrets were better left hidden.

“Does it really matter?” she asked. “Does it matter where I come from?”